An interview with Federation Council member Mikhail Margelov
The Foreign Ministry has finally issued an official statement, acknowledging that the four Russian diplomats abducted in Baghdad on June 3 are dead. Russia has also stated its intention to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss this tragedy.
The Foreign Ministry has finally issued an official statement, acknowledging that the four Russian diplomats abducted in Baghdad on June 3 are dead. Russia has also stated its intention to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss this tragedy. According to some reports, the meeting was to take place yesterday evening. We requsted comments from Senator Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee.
Question: What can an emergency session of the UN Security Council do in this case?
Mikhail Margelov: As a rule, the Security Council assembles in emergencies such as the start of a war, the launch of large-scale special operations, or any major unusual event that could lead or has led heavy casualties. When terrorists abduct and execute people – Russian citizens, in this case – Russia, as a Security Council member, has the right to call an emergency session. If you recall, the Security Council assembled after September 11. As the highest international decision-making body for security affairs, it issues resolutions concerning measures to prevent tragic incidents from being repeated. UN Security Council resolutions are binding for all UN member states.
Question: And what kind of issues will Russia raise at the United Nations this time?
Mikhail Margelov: Russia’s decision to call an emergency session of the UN Security Council certainly isn’t an attempt to use the blood of our citizens for publicity purposes. We intend to discuss a problem which has become apparent after they were killed in Iraq: the international community needs to admit that it is powerless in the war on global terrorism, and develop some new methods of fighting it. What happened in Iraq makes it clear to us that terrorists don’t act covertly at all; they abduct civilians openly. In my view, at the emergency session called by Russia, UN member states ought to reach agreement on combining the efforts of their special services.
Question: In the wake of this event, will Russia insist on evacuating its citizens from Iraq?
Mikhail Margelov: There are about 90 Russian citizens in Iraq at present. Most of them live on the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Baghdad, or in a few other cities. Coalition troops are maintaining tight security at all those sites. We warn our diplomats and other Russian citizens that it’s dangerous to go outside the secured territory. Moreover, we strongly advise Russian employees of companies operating in Iraq to leave the country. But we don’t have the right to insist that they do so. Neither can we withdraw our diplomatic mission from Iraq, since Russia has an interest in regulating the situation there and preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli has expressed condolences on behalf of the United States for the deaths of the Russian diplomats. He described the incident as a brutal murder committed by Al-Qaeda, once again demonstrating to the whole world that it knows no civilized norms. Ereli also noted that America intends to continue cooperating with Russia with the aim of defeating terrorism.